On Boot Hill

Up from the prairie and through the pines,
Over your struggling headboard lines
Winds of the West go by.
You must love them, you booted dead,
More than the dreamers who died in bed-
You old-timers who took your lead
Under the open sky!
Leathery knights of the dim old trail,
Lawful fighters or scamps for jail,
Dimly your virtues shine,
Yet who am I that I judge your wars.
Deeds that my daintier soul abhors,
Wide-open sins of the wide outdoors,
Manlier sins than mine.
Dear old mavericks, customs mend
I would not glory to make an end
Marked like a homemade sieve.
But with a touch of your own old pride
Grant me to travel the way I ride.
Gamely and gaily, the way you died,
Give me the nerve to live.
Ay, and for you I will dare assume
Some Valhalla of sun and room
Over the last divide.
There, in eternally fenceless West,
Rest to your souls, if they care to rest,
Or else fresh horses beyond the crest
And a star-speckled range to ride.

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